When I was 5 years old, I lost half of my foot after my grandfather accidentally backed over me with a riding lawn mower. I remember that day like a vivid dream. My grandfather rode around the yard as I curiously tagged along behind him. I remember looking down for a split moment before looking up to see the mower was only a few inches away from my face. I remember hitting the ground hard and letting out a fearful scream as the mower pulled me further into the blades.
I remember my terrified grandfather lifting the mower off of me, revealing the remains of my right foot. My big toe was dangling and the spongy yellow material that wrapped around my bones was completely visible. I remember thinking to myself, “that’s what the inside of my body looks like?”
It took quite a few months to physically heal this deep wound, and it took many years to heal the emotional scarring that was left from the trauma.
My lawn mower accident has been an eerie foreshadowing of my life, and the heartache I’ve endured through it. To me, the lawnmower represents the dark experience of heartbreak and pain that life blesses us with. One minute you’re staring at the ground thinking everything is good and when you look up, life hits you in the face. Without warning, your heart gets mangled in the blades.
There was no way I could run from the wound of my foot. When the blades cut into my flesh, I bled out so much that I had to have a blood transfusion. Throughout my stay at the hospital, my wounds were re-bandaged daily. Each and every time, they would re-open and bleed again. After a few months, the bleeding and the scarring finally came to an end. I no longer needed bandages and I learned how to walk and run and play again.
Many years have passed. My scars are clearly still there, but they have been with me for so long that I am not very often reminded of the incident anymore. I’ve healed myself physically and emotionally from the pain this caused me. I can walk and dance and do everything that everyone else can do, and it no longer has an emotional tie to my worth as a human being.
Life will always have it’s painful moments. Often after we’ve been hit and fallen down from an emotionally challenging situation, we want to run from the pain and escape it. We pick up more hours at work, we distract ourselves with mindless TV shows, or turn to alcohol and other self-destructive substances to numb ourselves. But if we don’t sit with our feelings and feel every one of them in their raw state, then we don’t take the opportunity to learn to know ourselves, and then we don’t fully heal. Instead we repress our emotions, armor our hearts and end up limping in the future because we never took the time to care for ourselves as our wounds were bleeding.
During painful life situations, our emotional wounds will bleed often. You may feel better for a minute, and then the next minute you’re on the floor again while unable to stop the tears from falling from your eyes. Accept that. Don’t run from it. Figuratively speaking, we need to learn how to re-bandage our emotional wounds any time they start to bleed out. Eventually the bleeding will stop.
Remember that when something you consider terrible happens...let it hurt, let it bleed, let it heal, and let it go. It may not feel like it now, but the pain will eventually subside, and you will be able to look back on this time with a fresh perspective and understand how it helped you to grow as a better person.